THE penultimate week of MLS action. Will Dyer (@w2Dyer) brings the tips.
FC Dallas v Portland Timbers | Sunday 22:00
Portland Timbers were terrific in the first leg and that late goal from Nat Borchers has really piled pressure on Dallas. One thing they do have though is an away score.
A 2-0 win would be enough for the Texans and with the form they’ve showed at the Toyota Stadium this season you wouldn’t put that beyond them.
Dairon Asprilla is an impact player and he assisted and scored in the first leg at Providence Park despite playing a bit-part role in the regular season.
FCD have lost just three of their last 25 home matches. Only LA Galaxy and the Supporter’s Shield winners, New York Red Bulls, have avoided defeat there since mid-April. That stretch includes a 4-1 defeat for the Timbers; Dallas’ joint biggest victory this year so they certainly know how to beat the Oregon side.
One of the keys to the success of this Dallas team has been the squad consistency. Week after week they’ve been naming an almost unchanged line-up and suffered very little in the way of injuries or suspensions. Key to their chances of overturning this first leg deficit will be the performance of Fabian Castillo.
Portland have scored in six consecutive away games and a number of their players have really stepped up to the plate of late. Darlington Nagbe is well worth an interest to score anytime at the inflated price of 5/1 but for me I have to get with the home side.
Castillo is often the spark in the Dallas attack but goals are frequently coming from across the midfield of Michael Barrios, David Texeira and Mauro Diaz. It’s hard to predict who will score here but I like Dallas to push Portland all the way.
It should be a great atmosphere; American fans don’t really know nerves like we do over the pond so they should be pretty loud throughout. Dallas just have a knack of winning even if they don’t play well at home and I don’t think two goals is asking too much, the 3/1 on them qualifying for the MLS Cup Final appeals to me.
New York Red Bulls v Columbus Crew | Monday 00:30
New York Red Bulls were abysmal at MAPFRE Stadium. They couldn’t string a single attractive move together and now trailing by two goals and without the advantage of an away goal they are really up against it.
Columbus came flying out the traps and scored within 11 seconds to make my 7/2 on BTTS in first half look very nice but NYRB just didn’t get going. They managed just two shots on target all game.
Crew have lost just three of the last nine meetings between the sides but they must go up against one of the most fearsome home records in World football. New York took a sensational 38 points from a possible 51 at home this season; they also beat the likes of Benfica and Chelsea in the International Champions Cup back in July.
I have not been impressed with them for many weeks though. Before the visit of DC United they had not kept a clean sheet in five games at the Red Bull Arena and were humbled 5-2 by new franchise Orlando City.
Columbus have scored in nine consecutive away games and with the top scorer in Major League Soccer this season, Kei Kamara, in their ranks and scoring in the first leg they look very likely to keep that run going.
4/6 on the home win is very short and makes me tempted to go with Draw No Bet, Double Chance or handicap bets supporting Columbus but MLS teams draw so little that I have my doubts.
All of the Black and Gold’s last seven visits to New Jersey have seen Both Teams To Score bank and New York should be better than the first leg; they simply have to be with their season on the line. BTTS should really be 2/5 here I think so I’ll have a go at the 7/10 still available.
FC Dallas v Portland Timbers – FC Dallas to Qualify (3/1 William Hill)
New York Red Bulls v Columbus Crew – Both Teams To Score (7/10 Betway)